lundi 1 novembre 2010

Social answering machine

A few days ago I was in a music class and I was messing with my smartphone. Then suddenly I had this idea: What about an application that updates the message on my answering machine just like a status on a social network? for example in my case in the music class i would have started this application on my phone, then written “I am in the music class” in the status field, then updated the status. If someone calls me and he gets my answering machine, he will hear “I am in the music class”.
As a geek, I thought about the technical aspects of the idea, and i figured out a way to do it. First, you must redirect your incoming calls when you do not respond, to a fixed number. For example, with Orange in France all you have to do is dial: **61* redirection number #. You should own the redirection number, on which you install an interactive voice server (IVR), Asterisk for instance. The VXML script of the IVR must do the following: read for the redirected caller the message text file (e.g.: msg.txt containing the string “I am in the music class”), then save his voice message if he leaves one in an audio file. We will suppose that this is a simple answering machine, so afterwards it sends the voice message to me as a mail, and notify me by SMS for example using the Orange SMS API or other APIs. On the same machine, we install a web server with a simple servlet that changes the msg.txt file upon an authenticated web request. Lets suppose that the request is according to the following form:
The server side is done, all we need now is a simple client application on the smartphone. On the application UI, I write my new status, and click on update. the application sends an HTTP request to our webserver with the new status in parameter to update the answering machine message.
We can add complexity the idea by integrating the traditional answering machine services, like calling back to hear the message, or we can have several customized statuses according to the calling number (SFR offers a similar service: SFR Repondeur+). Social extensions maybe thought of, like synchronisation with Facebook or others.

Would you appreciate such an option in you answering machine if it existed in you offer?


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